Services are open - don’t put off seeking mental health support

Mental Health Awareness Week: CPFT CEO Tracy Dowling says help is available

Services are open - don’t put off seeking mental health support
18 May 2020

People are being urged not to let the coronavirus pandemic prevent them from seeking help for their mental health.

Tracy Dowling, Chief Executive of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust which provides specialist mental health services for adults and children, said support is available and that people shouldn’t put off seeking the care they might need.

Speaking at the beginning of Mental Health Awareness Week, Tracy said: “This is a difficult time for everyone, but our services have continued throughout the pandemic.

“Due to social distancing, we’ve had to change some of the ways we work and we’ve introduced more online and video consultations in place of some face-to-face therapies, but our dedicated frontline NHS staff are available to those in mental health crisis.”

The Trust’s mental health teams include the First Response Service. Anyone in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough can call the NHS 111 helpline and by selecting “option 2” can speak directly with a mental health practitioner.

From there, the team will assess the person over the phone and if needed, arrange further support either by phone or video call. If a further face-to-face assessment is required, the team can arrange for a clinician to visit them at home.

Earlier this month, the Trust opened new temporary crisis assessment facilities which provide an alternative place for people in mental health crisis, who don’t have serious physical health needs, to be assessed.

FRS receives about 3,000 calls per month. The number of calls fell in March and April compared to 12 months before, but are now returning to usual levels.

Tracy said: “Similar to the experience of GPs and accident and emergency departments we have been a bit concerned that some people may have been putting off seeking help

“In the last two weeks the numbers have returned to their usual levels, but we want to assure people that our services are open for business, and if people need support with their mental health we want them to get in touch.”

The First Response Service is staffed by a range of mental health practitioners including consultant psychiatrist Dr Mike Spencer who has returned to a full-time NHS role after seven years away.

Mike said: “I am one of many NHS staff who have answered the call to help during the pandemic, and I’ve been happy to do what I can. It’s certainly challenging work at times, but I feel well supported by my colleagues, and together we’re doing everything we can to continue to support people in mental health crisis.”

As well as the First Response Service, people can continue to self-refer to CPFT’s Psychological Wellbeing Service here. PWS helps those aged 17 and over who are suffering from mild to moderate depression and anxiety.

A range of mental health services also provided by other organisations across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough including:

Lifeline Helpline – people who need mental health and support can call 0808 808 2121 every day from 9am to 11pm every day.

CPFT has also joined forces with local authorities and organisations from the third sector, to launch a wellbeing campaign and additional mental health support for people during the coronavirus outbreak.
Now We’re Talking, encourages people to get talking to combat loneliness while self-isolating, and to seek help if they are struggling with their mental health. More details can be found here.

Wellbeing and mental health advice for adults and children is available via the Keep Your Head website: www.keep-your-head.com.

Centre 33 provides free, confidential support and information for young people up to the age of 25, across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough via 0333 4141809 between noon and 4pm, Monday to Friday.

CPFT employs more than 4,000 staff who provide community physical healthcare for older people and those with long-term conditions, mental healthcare for children and adults, children’s health services in Peterborough, learning disability support and social care support.


For more information please contact:
Andy Burrows
Interim Deputy Head of Communications
E andy.burrows@cpft.nhs.uk
T 01223 219467

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust
Elizabeth House, Fulbourn Hospital
Cambridge, CB21 5EF

T 01223 219400 (open 8:30am to 5pm)
F 01480 398501

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